“You are no longer the nerd gaming away on his own”

Photophobic homebodies who flee from reality into colourful computer-generated fantasy worlds, or brooding nerds expanding their potential for aggression with ego shooters – these prejudices are long since obsolete where gaming culture is concerned. Young gamers reveal why they play computer games.

Chris Renger, 21, retail salesman in a large electrical store

Chris Renger Chris Renger | Foto: Selina Nowak I grew up with computer games. I have been playing with my big brother since I was little. I mainly play World of Warcrafts (WoW). Occasionally I also buy other games. But only ones that stand out, not mainstream ones.

I currently live in a shared house of three gamers. Our circle of friends consists mostly of gamers. We play WoW for an average of three or four hours a day with others in what we call a guild. For me, gaming is just a hobby, like football clubs are to other people. A balance to wind down after work. I have certainly already thought about doing something to do with gaming in a career capacity. More programming-orientated, because I’m a keen mathematician.

Philipp Kock, 32, level designer, game development instructor & developer of his own game “Starbattle”

Philipp Kock Philipp Kock | Foto: Selina Nowak I have been playing computer games since I was six. It was through gaming that I learnt how to access computers. In those days you had to know what you were doing with your computer for the games to work on it.

Nowadays almost everyone plays games on the new mobiles and tablets. All age groups, all social strata. Gaming is socially acceptable today. You are no longer the nerd gaming away on his own; you are connected to the rest of the world via the internet even when you are playing games. You communicate via a headset and camera, drink a beer as you play and chat about everything under the sun.

Personally I prefer to play shoot-‘em-ups and strategy games. I don’t like MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games such as World Of Warcraft). I find it too stressful and it takes up too much time. I usually play games for two hours at a stretch every day. But I don’t have a television.

Daniel Renner, 21, house-shares with Chris

Daniel Renner Daniel Renner | Foto: Selina Nowak I recently became unemployed and actually I would have plenty of time for gaming. In the last few years I noticed that I spend too much time gaming and other things suffer. At the moment I prefer to make music and I try to keep myself physically fit. I used to only have gaming friends. But now I know more people who don’t play games, or who only play the same amount as we do in our shared house. But as ever I really enjoy gaming.

So why did I actually start playing WoW – the basic idea was that I can play with others. I wouldn’t play on my own. I wouldn’t say that gaming is not real life. As soon as you play online it really is real life, because after all real time passes that you spend there. People should just accept that the internet is real too.

Alexis Rebischini, 17, media design student / game design industry

Alexis Rebischini Alexis Rebischini | Foto: Selina Nowak I got my first Gameboy at the age of eight and that’s how I started console gaming. I have been gaming on the computer since I was 15.

At the moment I play League of Legends (LoL) a lot, as well as a bit of World of Warcraft (WoW). I used to play it intensively. At least four hours a day plus half-an-hour preparation and follow-up. That was as inflexible as a training session for a sports team. You get really ambitious with these games. There were times when 37 hours of continuous gaming seemed necessary. If you enjoy it, there’s really no reason why not. As long as you don’t have to go to school it’s great. But then at some point comes the time to start studying. But I was always quite good at realising when it was time to stop and start my school work.

In my priority list, gaming ranks approximately the same as a book. You can play most games in the same way that you read a book. If you really enjoy reading something, you can read it all day.